South Charlotte

With these clothes, you can wear your heart on your sleeve

The Charlotte-based online apparel company God is good... 4U helps men, women and children express their Christian faith with simple and to-the-point messages on T-shirts, bags and hats.

But to owners Dale and Joan Gant, it is also their ministry to "share the truth of Jesus Christ."

After re-reading "The Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren, Dale Gant, 51, says he questioned what he was doing to share his Christian faith with others. He began to evaluate what he could do to make a difference and, having a background in apparel, he felt the natural area for him would be Christian apparel.

After researching the Christian T-shirt market, Dale and Joan, 47, found it was inundated with complex and graphic-driven apparel.

"We chose to get back to the basics with a simple Christian message: God is good... 4U," said Dale.

In 2008, the Gants, members of Hickory Grove Baptist Church, began working on their company plans and designs, and they began selling T-shirts in 2009.

Since the majority of the T-shirts on the market were geared toward teens and people in their early 20s and were graphic driven, the Gants found the message to be somewhat confusing. They also saw a void in the market for women and men in their 30s, 40s, 50s and older.

"What we created was a message that was direct about their faith and allowed them to show their own personality with individual designs. It allows each person to show how God is good for them in their lives," said Dale.

To accomplish their goal, the Gants chose a name they felt was nonthreatening to nonbelievers but still direct for those who know Christ.

"By wearing one of our shirts, it's a wonderful way to share your faith with others," said Dale.

For instance, one customer who recently purchased a T-shirt and hat wore them to chemotherapy treatments she was undergoing for cancer and was able to share her faith with several nurses after they inquired about her shirt.

The Gants are also committed to empowering and encouraging others, and they find wearing their apparel is a great starting point to share how Christ has worked in their lives.

"It has allowed us to share the gifts we have received," said Dale. "It keeps our focus on the Lord."

The company has also given the Gants an opportunity to make a contribution to Samaritan's Purse, a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization that provides for people in need around the world. Operation Christmas Child is a program that Samaritan's Purse runs to demonstrate the good news of Jesus Christ. God is good... 4U donated more than 1,000 T-shirts that will be given to children and young adults this holiday season.

Each T-shirt will be packed in a shoebox, along with other needed items.